Although the morning started overcast and temperature in the mid 60s Fahrenheit, the rain held off and there was even some sunshine before the end, even if the track was still wet in places from overnight downpours and from water seeping up through some of the racetrack seams. Drivers had to take care not to get into trouble on the tricky, tight street circuit, and for the most part succeeded admirably.
There were just two red flags, the first to enable Oriol Servia's car to be recovered following a throttle problem during the first Group 1 half-hour period comprised of rookies and drivers outside the championship top ten, while the second red came out when Graham Rahal slid into a jarring crash into the tyre wall at turn 6, once all the cars had joined the circuit for the remaining half hour of practice.
After that the session ran incident-free to the end, with Scott Dixon avoiding bringing out a caution when he suffered puncture some 15 minutes before the end of the session and was able to bring the #9 car back to pit lane for a change of rubber before quickly resuming his practice runs. As the session concluded, Helio Castroneves had a moment as the chequered flag came out after getting caught out by the slower Ana Beatriz (a promotor's choice entry in a fourth Andretti Autosport car this weekend) while Ryan Briscoe also went into the run off at turn 9.
Officials seemed unusually attentive to details such as cars leaving their pit box ahead of time, with JR Hildebrand getting a drive-thru penalty for exiting seconds before the end of Group 1 and EJ Viso likewise for being too quick to head out again following the stoppage for Rahal's incident.
As the clocks ticked down to the last four minutes, Dario Franchitti popped to the top with a lap of 1:22.3953s narrowly ahead of long-time front runners Will Power and Scott Dixon, but Power was able to nip back in front with his final effort of 1:22.3875s.
Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden finished the session in fourth and fifth places, indicating that their strong performances in the opening races of the season are genuine indications of how good both series rookies are looking on street courses.
Overall the top ten were evenly split between Honda and Chevrolet, indicating that Honda may be back on an even footing with Chevy after winning the appeal over their plans to upgrade their turbochargers for Sao Paulo. James Jakes' tenth place with the Honda-powered Dale Coyne Racing team was one of the more eye-catching unexpected results of the session.
The fastest Lotus runner was Sebastien Bourdais in 19th place, while Servia's early problems left him down on running and in 24 place by the end of Dreyer & Reinbold's final outing with the engine manufacturer.
Rubens Barrichello finished his first IndyCar
session in Brazil in 12th place after completing 26 laps during the session, having received dispensation to be included in Group 1 despite being neither an official series rookie (because of his F1 experience) nor outside the top ten in the championship. Only his compatriot Ana Beatriz and owner-driver Ed Carpenter ran more laps during the hour.
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